Management easily assigns responsibility to employees but often provides no or minimal authority to go along with the responsibility. The result – restricting opportunities to learn and advance, and possibly setting employees up for failure.
Right now, on the world stage, this is being demonstrated with the Russian military’s top-down management versus the Ukrainian military allowing, albeit encouraging, their lower-level commanders to react as they see fit to developing situations. We are witnessing “David” consistently beating “Goliath” because the Russians can’t do anything until word filters down for the top.
Are you guilty of the top down approach in your business? Do you tell staff they have responsibility for certain things while giving them no authority to act? I’ve often had to deal with this with my clients; telling them they are the limiting factor to the growth of their business. The reason – their staff members must come to them for decisions on often the most mundane of things.
Would you like your employees to be happy in their work so they will stay with you? Would you love for your company to be known for excellent customer service? Do you want your company to continue to grow? If so, then allow your people to have the authority to make decisions, notifying you after the fact on more important matters.
Will employees always make the ‘right’ decision? No, but that’s part of the learning process. You’ve made lots of mistakes over the years, because, hey, you’re only human. Well, so are your employees!
Of course, should an employee continually repeat mistakes, then it’s time for them to move on to whatever their true calling is outside of your business.
You will also accrue a wonderful benefit from this approach – time to plan for the future of your business. Instead of living in a day-to-day world you’ll be able to think where you want your business to be in 6, 12, 24, etc. months and plan the actions to achieve that success. Working ON, not IN your business!
Across my career from working in Fortune 100 corporations to running startup companies I instinctively took the approach of assigning responsibility AND authority to my staff. Along with telling them, “You get the credit, I’ll take the blame.” A policy I always followed and defended to ‘outsiders’ when they would go after one of my people for some perceived problem. It was important my staff knew I had their backs.
Don’t be afraid to give out authority. You’ll be surprised at how empowering it is for your employees and you. Also, your staff will happily ‘go the extra mile’ for you when it’s needed!